Maintain Home Value – and Joy

9 Maintenance Tasks Critical to Maintaining Home Value

 
 
May 7, 2020. By Oscar Ortega: You know a smart garden renovation can maximize home value – well simply maintaining your garden well can too! On the other side of the coin, letting things slide can also lead to slides in home value and enjoyment.
 
Is that enough to pique your interest? If so, here are 9 high-impact maintenance projects to tackle. Many of these projects protect you from property damage or injury – they all keep the neighbors from giving you side-eye!
 
The value of each task may surprise you. As a whole, they can add 1 percent to your home value each year. Perhaps more importantly, National Association of Realtors (NAR) study found that 75 percent of homeowners report having a greater desire to be home as a result of well-maintained outdoor spaces and give landsccape maintenance a 9.5/10 “Joy Score.” We like that!
 
 

Weed It and Weed It Again

Keeping a garden weed-free is one of the best ways to protect your existing home value. Failing to do so will reduce not only your home value, but that of your neighbors. Yikes! Luckily, weeding a little day by day or week by week is pleasant work. The project only becomes onerous once weeds have been allowed to overtake a space. Here are great tips for keeping your space both weed and chemical free.
 
 

Grow a Meadow or Mow

Meadows are a top trend – but unkempt turf? Um. No. Unless your lawn is comprised of an IdealMow grass with a glorious meadow aesthetic, regular mowing is a must. A neighbor’s unkept lawn reduces your home value by 5-10 percent, so you can imagine the impact of your own neglect!

On the upside, the NAR study notes that hiring a service to stay on top just these two tasks – weeding and lawn maintenance – will return more than 250 percent of your investment at sale.
 
 

Mulch for Joy

Adding mulch to planted areas also yields big bang for the buck. HomeLight’s top agents used data from HomeAdvisor.com to place the value of adding mulch at 126 percent of the cost of the service. We wish they had a joy score for this one! It is incredibly satisfying to look back at a freshly mulched garden. The value of mulch is more than skin-deep aesthetics – or joy. Mulch will keep soil hydrated, reducing the need for applied water while increasing plant health.
 
 

Get Out of the Gutter

While we won’t judge if your mind goes there, all other forms of filth should be removed from gutters and waterways on the regular! Properties with tree cover or tall shrubbery near the home need frequent attention. It may feel like a lark until it isn’t. All it takes is one good rain, and a clogged gutter or a mis-directed downspout can cause tens of thousands in property damage. As dirty gutters can result in pooling water ripe for mosquito-breeding, this task will also boost your ability to enjoy your outdoor space on a daily basis.
 
 

Clean Like Sunscreen

Think of regular hardscape and equipment cleaning as the “sunscreen” of maintenance tasks – it might make you feel greasy in the moment, but it will keep your space looking like new without costly fixes down the road. Failing to keep hardscapes and outdoor kitchens free of clutter, cobwebs, litter and grime can rapidly deteriorate both their aesthetic and functionality. It is easy enough for neglect to produce deterioration that cannot be addressed at anything lower than replacement cost.
 
 

Uplift Shrubbery

Shrubs increase in value as they grow, help trees cool your garden, and decrease energy costs. The key to maximizing these gains – and ensuring shrubs grow to their full glory – is structural pruning. Drop the chain saw in favor of pruning sheers. Work with the natural shape of the shrub, removing unhealthy or errant limbs.
 
 

Protect Tree Canopy

There is no better outdoor investment of time or money than protecting your tree canopy. There are the obvious costs of tree neglect from property damage, the cost of tree or branch removal, the risks of injury, and the potential for animosity and lawsuits between neighbors, and increased in-home energy costs. Less obvious may be the loss home value represented by a reduction in tree canopy.

It’s so much easier and less expensive to invest in good maintenance! Check our tree care timeline for a detailed list of to-dos and to-don’ts.
 
 

Keep up the Tech

Interior tech tends to be more about fascination than value creation. Smart irrigation and outdoor lighting are a bit more critical, as they are key to garden health and safety. Pay attention to tells that your smart irrigation system needs adjustment, and quickly replace lights that amplify visibility along walkways and drives.
 
 

Extra Credit: Keep a Record

Low-cost and low-maintenance landscapes are appealing to homebuyers. If you’ve already invested in a smart landscape or have the thought in mind, it doesn’t hurt to track garden maintenance related costs (outdoor water use, time, mower petrol and maintenance, chemical supports, annual foliage, dump fees) as well as energy costs and time spent. That way you are more likely to get credit for all your good work!
 
 

More Information

  • New York Times: The Annual Home Maintenance Checklist
  • Nerd Wallet: 5 Proven Ways to Increase Home Value
  • National Association of Realtors: Remodeling Impact Report – Outdoor Features
  • Washington Post: Clean-Up of Downed Trees Is Expensive
  • Urban Forestry and Urban Greening: Tree Canopy Change and Neighborhood Stability
  • CurbedLA: Who Will Save LA’s Tree Canopy?
  • 53rd Annual Shade Symposium: The Cost of Not Maintaining Trees
  • Zing! Quicken Loans: Neighbors Unkempt Homes Decrease Your Value
  • LA Times: Don’t Let a Run Down House Next Door Ruin Your Property Value
  • HGTV:Landscape Tips That Will Help Sell Your Home
  • Zillow: How to Get Rid of Weeds
  • HomeAdvisor: Roofs, Gutters and Drains: Keeping Your Home Safe from Water Damage.
  • Associated Press: Rain Gutters Cause Many Home Drainage Problems
  • Realtor.com: Will They Dig It?